Types of Ginseng
Siberian ginseng (Elutherococcus senticsus) is a plant discovered when researchers were attempting to find alternatives to American ginseng. It is native to northern Asia and has little value as a crop for America. Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) is the original ginseng. This plant has been used by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for thousands of years. Commercial cultivation of roots in Asian is a HUGE industry. American producers, while growing this crop in some cases, have limited opportunity to successfully compete in this market. American ginseng (Panax quiquefolius) is the true wild ginseng of North America. This is the ginseng suggested for cultivation in Pennsylvania.
All of these types of ginseng are used as adaptogens. Adaptogens are herbs taken to restore your equilibrium, to use an old quote, "to fix what ails you." Because TCM focuses more on maintaining health than on curing diseases, ginseng has enjoyed a fairly good demand. Even during the recent downturn in the Asian economy, wild ginseng sold for $250 a pound. American ginseng also serves as a caffeine substitute and even a seasoning.